This Is How the Body Reacts to Competitive Eating

This is Nela Zisser… She ate a 10,000 calorie english breakfast
in 42 minutes! 20 eggs, 3 pounds of meat and almost a whole
pound of butter. Ok, I gotta admit, it looks delicious, but
still… Competitive eating has taken off in the US
and around the world, and doing it really comes down to three things: What’s happening
biologically, what’s happening mentally, and how they got like this?! Let’s start at the beginning, before eating,
the stomach muscles relax in a process called – gastric accommodation. It’s a way the body anticipates a meal. Saliva builds up in the mouth and the stomach
is bombarded with acid and enzymes that help in the digestion process. This happens with everyone, and competitive
eaters are no different. But, it’s about there the similarities between
thanksgiving and competition end. When you eat, your body has systems to tell
you when it’s full. Competitive Eaters — like distance runners
— have trained themselves to push through these kinds of natural barriers. So the eater shoves the first pie, hot dog,
or taco into their mouth and it travels down the esophagus and enters the stomach. The stomach recognizes this is food, and starts
to stretch to accommodate. A regular human stomach starts out about the
size of a clenched fist, and can expand five-fold, but a competitive eater’s stomach can stretch
quite a bit more. A study from 2007 published scans of a competitive
eaters stomach before, during and after he ate 36 hot dogs. Look at this! THIS IS A HUMAN. Before, shoving these tube-steaks into his
body — the stomach looks pretty wrinkly, kinda like an uninflated balloon. Then, after the bushel of brats it looks like
this. Look at that! THIS IS HORRIFYING. The researchers found this eater’s stomach
could accept a quote “almost unlimited volume of food”. It’s hard to know exactly how much competitive
eaters’ stomachs could expand… because studies are thin on the ground, but here’s
what we think is happening. Eaters eat. A lot. Chronic overeating stretches the stomach,
making it easier to consume massive amounts of food during competition. But there’s more to it than that… The Enteric Nervous System is like a mini-brain
specifically for your gut. It is made up of more than 100 million nerve
cells that line the walls of our digestive tract and it’s there to keep food moving
and communicate problems — like a crammed tummy, perhaps? Some people’s Enteric Nervous Systems may
just be less sensitive than others, allowing them to chow down on crazy amounts of food. Maybe Competitive Eaters have that advantage? Scientists have found links between the brain
and the gut too. The bacteria living down there share a two-way
channel with the brain — stress and depression can suppress gut function but perhaps there’s
a way to consciously tap into that to eat more food? More research is needed. Competitive eaters say the key to speed eating
is the ability to zone out and ignore the feeling that they’re full. So that’s it, stretch your stomach, overcome
the feeling of being full and just… really like hot dogs. But then what? Let’s say you ate 70 hot dogs, which is
like, 15 pounds (7kg) and over 19,000 calories. Then what? You know what I mean? Once eating competitions are over, no one
realllly knows what happens because competitors aren’t gabbing to reporters about their
bodily functions, but I bet you it’s not great. And if that’s not enough, there are absolutely
some serious downsides to eating like this. Researchers have called competitive eating
“potentially self-destructive.” It can cause things like water intoxication,
obesity, But also the need for a gastrectomy (which means removing part of the stomach!)
and gastroparesis, which is when a stomach so stretched it becomes unable to digest food. In fact, depending on what kind of foods are
being consumed, this behavior can increase the risk of heart attack or kidney damage! But aside from that, eaters also risk choking
during these challenges. While professional contests have medics standing
by, amateur contests often don’t. People die at these things. Seriously. So FYI. I love hot dogs too, but don’t try this
at home, people. Just don’t! I’m hungry. Maybe you are a competitive eater. In which case, you should prooobably have
your own website. Look no further than When you buy a domain name from,
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domain names and web hosting when you use coupon code SEEKER at checkout. But you know, maybe you shouldn’t love hot
dogs. Do you know what’s in them? Find out here. What’s the biggest meal you’ve ever eaten? Let us know in the comments down below, subscribe
if you haven’t already, and thanks for watching Seeker. Biggest meal I ever ate was a double whopper with cheese, two sets of fries, three Dr. Peppers, and three Hershey’s sundae pies.

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